For me Life, Once Again! (LOA) was a story about a middle-aged man who died in a traffic accident turn back in time to his high school years to live his life once again with dream as an actor.
Sounds like your typical reincarnation or second chance story right? Nope! If you had read those many many stories about the second chance, you’ll found a common cliche. The main character remembers all information about the future then used it as a sword. But not this one. This novel blew a new breath and refreshing taste to the genre.
If you haven’t noticed before, I had finished the novel. Yes, ALL CHAPTERS. I read the raw with the help of google translate. Yup, that was cumbersome work but anyway I finished reading it while learning Korean. It’s pretty different than reading in full English because there was some slang words, dialects, honorifics, and other Korean language features that will get lost in translation. Especially in long conversations where sometimes it got confusing who is who, the feature like formal or polite language will help.
Anyway, I still recommend reading in Wuxiaworld as it is licensed and indirectly supports the original author. The translator team is great too! Once in a while, there’ll be a commissioned fanart when releasing a new chapter.
OK. That was a long opening. Let’s dive into the review.
Life, Once Again! was a story full of feelings.
In the first 750 chapters, it was a slice of life genre with a speck of fantasy. The story told us about how our main character, Han MaRu, living his daily life as a high school student while having a middle-aged mindset. With the main goal of having a stable future with his wife and daughter without worry. His unique choices when tackling problems were the main dish of the story. It was refreshing and somewhat fun when you put your shoes on those people around Han MaRu. How could a 17 years old do something so mature more than the real adults?
MaRu’s choices affected those around him. So came the stories of his friends and people related to him. These stories added up more flavor to the genre. Especially when the characters felt like real people, or in popular term 3 dimensional. You slowly understood how their point of view was and why they do things. The author wrote the story mixed between the third and first POV. This was more apparent in Korean, as most of the sentences don’t need a subject. So it was like third POV, using “name” not “me” or “I”, but from behind a certain character. This style matched perfectly to be used to told stories about people. I sympathized and had an affection with the characters while having some kind of distance, except for those villains because the effect was completely opposite. Ah, those stories from supporting characters would be related to Han MaRu, one way or another.
Those who had started reading the novel would notice a unique entity. “She”. It was surprising to introduce and called a character as “she” even though she had a pretty important role as Han MaRu’s love interest. That part really picked your curiosity about who she is and what her name is. “She” became MaRu’s sun, his purpose of life. She was an aspiring actress in his previous life. This reason pulled MaRu to try acting in the theater club to got closer to her before decided to go all out as an actor.
The reason I said LOA full of feelings was because the theme was acting. After a bit of repairing his cold hard rock personality, MaRu’s dream was to become an actor. Even though there were some coercion and other underlying reasons. All acting scenes were depicted in fine detail from the character’s perspective. I felt how they accumulate feelings to act and what kind of feelings they had when acting. Or in another situation, I felt how someone’s acting feels like from an audience’s view. In the “about author” corner, the author wrote that they tried to convey a video into text and that describes how the author’s writing was. In my mind, I was watching a long drama. MaRu went auditioning and shooting dramas or movies were my personal favorites.
I couldn’t tell much about the second half of the story without major spoiling. In the last half, the fantasy elements were in full swing, especially near the ending. The romance and career side of the story were highlighted too. Not everyone will like this, so maybe the last half wasn’t for everyone. The story going up and down much faster than before. Supporting characters’ appearances and stories were minimal. But most of those small stories from the earlier half were tied into one.
The ending was disappointing. The disappointment wasn’t because the ending was executed badly, the execution was so good. Clues were everywhere and I expected the ending. The ending just isn’t my style. The ending was somehow cliche yet I was overwhelmed with feelings. I had read the author’s comment that some readers were angry etc then left. But the author said that was the ending they want to write since the beginning, so we didn’t have any choice but to accept. By the time I posted this, I was still overwhelmed with the ending even though it had been days since I finished reading the novel.
Fortunately, the author wrote a whopping 278 chapters of side stories. Some called it the epilogue, tho the amount was comparable to a whole series. The side stories pretty much a continuation of the ending. It had the slice of life vibes from the earlier chapters and those acting details. That was satisfying for me. The big difference was the stories weren’t that tightly plotted as the original. I could simplify the side stories as Han MaRu’s success story.
Overall I recommend to read it. Most of the conversations here and there were valuable that sometimes got me thinking about life. The writing was neat too. But as I said before, when it passed 750 chapters maybe you won’t like it. I actually wanna give a 9-star rating, but that ending was too shocking.